A sick couple who starved their Lurcher puppy to death in one of the most heinous cases of animal cruelty officers have ever witnessed have been jailed.
Kerry Patterson, 35, and Reece Milburn, 30, pretended to discover three-year-old Tiggy abandoned on the side of the road and reported him to their local council.
An animal welfare officer arrived at their home in Blyth, Northumberland, and described the animal’s condition as the “worst case he’d seen in his 15 years on the job.”
Tiggy was photographed with almost no fur on her body and her ribs protruding from her emaciated frame.
She was also severely dehydrated, suffering from dermatitis and a mite infestation, and was so weak that she couldn’t stand.
Tiggy was discovered just days before Christmas in 2019 and her harrowing images went viral, prompting Northumberland County Council to issue an appeal to find her owners.
Several days later, the council received dozens of emails claiming Tiggy was Patterson and Milburn’s property.
Last Thursday, March 3, the couple appeared in North Tyneside Magistrates Court and admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
They also admitted to failing to look after their other dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Enzo is a terrier who suffers from a skin condition and a mite infestation.
The pair were jailed to 12 weeks in prison, barred from owning or keeping animals for the rest of their lives, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120 each.
According to a council spokesperson, Philip Soderquest, it was “one of the most shocking and high-profile cases of animal cruelty the county has ever seen.”
‘Our animal welfare team works tirelessly to investigate animal neglect and cruelty cases and bring perpetrators to justice,’ he added.
‘We were adamant that Tiggy’s former owners get their day in court, and after two years, we finally got the result we wanted today.’
Tiggy’s story ended happily thanks to the hard work of the team at Berwick Animal Rescue Centre.
‘She is a picture of health and happiness, with a new home, a new life with dog companions, and even a new name.’
The couple’s other dog, Enzo, is still in kennels and looking for a forever home.